It has been exactly two months since we left the USA to begin our RTW trip. We have visited 20 cities in 5 different countries, and have traveled via 5 flights, 6 trains, 1 cruise ship, 4 bus rides, and countless miles on our feet. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves as a reminder that this is our life now.
The majority of our blog posts thus far have centered on the places we’ve visited, the sights we’ve seen, the food we’ve tried, the people we’ve met, etc. Today we’d like to take this post in a different direction and reflect on the lessons we’ve learned so far in order to mark the two month anniversary of our expedition.
Stressful situations often turn into the best memories – at the moment, it’s usually not funny. Amy is the one who does the freaking out, and Mike is the one who keeps his calm. After the fact, we almost always laugh about it though. Like the time we were carrying around our packs with nowhere to stay at 4am in a small town in Spain. Or when the airline canceled our flight to Europe three days before we were supposed to leave. Or the time we became the victims of bed bugs in Portugal. Or when we had to spend the night in the Madrid airport. We’re certain there will be plenty more of these crazy situations during the remainder of our trip, and with several now under our belt, hopefully they will be a little less stressful and a little funnier.
We don’t need stuff – we have received a lot of comments about the gear we’ve brought along with us, mostly along the lines of “that’s all you have for a whole year?!” We learned pretty quickly that we have all that we need. Our belongings do not define who we are, nor do they determine how much we can get out of traveling. Not to mention, it’s SO much more comfortable to only have a 20lb. 40L pack on your back when walking around town. Thus far, we’ve been able to pass them as carry-on luggage as well; it’s nice to keep our bags insight.
The path is not set in stone – prior to our departure, we made a list of countries that we hoped to visit on our trip. While we have always known that the list would morph over time, after two months on the road, we witnessed that notion become a reality. We have now reached a point in our trip where we do not have any flights, train tickets or rooms booked into the future; our itinerary is open. It is a liberating feeling to have an undefined path in front of us.
Hostel dorms are not for us – we did the hostel thing when we were in college, no problem. Dorm full of strangers, partying all night, snoring guy in the corner, you get the picture. We’ll still do it when we have to, but we have come to realize that we enjoy our days exploring more when we have our own space at night. To us, it’s worth forking out the extra cash for the private room.
It’s OK to take a day off – this trip took years of planning, so naturally we want to get the most out of every moment. When we arrived in Europe we were pedal to the metal, sightseeing 6-8 hours per day, everyday. Only recently have we learned that it is OK to take a day off; nonstop tourism can be exhausting. So now, instead of feeling guilty about sleeping in and having a movie day, we enjoy it.
We love sharing our travels with you – whether you’re a friend, stranger, our moms, or fellow travelers, we really enjoying sharing with you via our blog. It allows us to take a step back from what we just experienced and translate it into words to share with you. All of the comments and emails that we have received so far have amazed us – please keep them coming, we love hearing from you! Contact us to share funny stories, suggestions for our blog, or anything else that’s on your mind.
With two months behind us it’s exciting to know that we have another ten to go! Only time will tell where we’ll go and what we’ll learn…